Bag ban battles spread across the country
By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling
From New England to the West Coast, plastic bag bans continue to pop up across the country.
A legislator in Rhode Island is vying to make the state the first in the nation to ban plastic bags, reports The Brown Daily Herald. Residents of the Ocean State use about 192 million plastic bags every year, according to the paper, citing numbers from the Brown Policy Review. The proposed ban on the totes, which is being sponsored by Rep. Maria Cimini (D-Providence), would go into effect next year for large retailers, and 2015 for smaller stores. Cimini told the paper that she doesn't expect the bill to pass this session, but hopes it will start a conversation on protecting natural resources.
In addition to eyeing bans on big sodas and polystyrene containers, New York City is considering doing away with plastic bags, reports television station NY1.
According to the station, the city's Department of Sanitation is "seriously considering" a plastic bag ban. Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a 5-cent surcharge on plastic bags in 2008, but it went nowhere in the face of business opposition.
"We see it being done all around the country, and it's good for the environment, and it's good for the aesthetics of the city and the cleanliness of the city, so it's something that's going to have to be seriously considered, the pros and cons of it. We'll see how the city goes forward on it," Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty told the station. "It's something that's on our drawing board. No doubt about it."
In Mountain View, California, a plastic bag ban will go into effect on Earth Day, April 22. The ban will affect every retail establishment in the city except restaurants and non-profit thrift stores, reports the local Patch.
Palo Alto, California is considering expanding its plastic bag ban to restaurants while charging a fee for paper bags, reports mercurynews.com.
Portland, Maine has formed a task force to look into banning plastic bags and polystyrene in the city, reports the Portland Press Herald.
"Seattle businesses are facing the unintended consequences of nanny-state control," reads a post on The Foundry, a news blog hosted by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
The post examines Seattle's plastic bag ban, which went into effect last year. The post cites an operator of a grocery store and numbers from the city that shows that shoplifters are exploiting the bag ban by using reusable bags to smuggle out merchandise.